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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  November 19, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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>> i'm don ford in bodega bay. not very many crab fishermen are crabbing this year and i'll tell you why coming up. >> we'll have that and much more at 6:00, allen. >> thank you. good night. turbulence over securi screening. the t.s.a. gives pilots a pass, but some airports are now threatening to give t.s.a. agents the boot. i'm katie couric. also tonight, it's one of the most popular prescription painkillers. now the makers of darvon are pulling it from the market because the f.d.a. says it can have fatal side effects. an aspiring ballplayer is killed and his family blames allegedly defective ford seat belts. an exclusive cbs news investigation. two shots heard round the world. three decades later, remembering the mystery that kept everybody guessing. captioning sponsored by cbs
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from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. on the eve of the busy holiday travel week, protests are growing louder over those airport body scans and patdowns. a.a.a. expects more than 1.6 million americans to fly this thanksgiving season, 3.5% more than last year. and security officers at 68 airports across the country will be scanning passengers or patting them down. kelly cobiella is at one of those airports, miami international. kelly, the t.s.a. said today pilots won't be subjected to this enhanced screening, but a lot of passengers will be, whether they like it or not. >> reporter: that's right, katie. and actually a recent cbs news poll found that four out of five americans are okay with this enhanced screening, but right now that one out of five has the loudest voice. flight attendant kathy bossy
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does not like the new rules. as a breast cancer survivor, she worried about going through body scanners at charlotte airport in north carolina. after reluctantly being scanned, a t.s.a. agent pulled her aside for a private patdown. >> she put her full hand on my breast and said "what is this?" and i said "it's a prosthesis because i've had breast cancer." and she goes "you'll need to show me that." it was just so horrific of an experience that it just blew my mind. >> reporter: though the t.s.a. bowed to pressure from the pilots' union, allowing them to skip airport screening by showing two i.d.s, flight attendants and the traveling public still face body scanners or patdowns that cover every body part. and a handful-- like software engineer john tyner-- are just saying no to both. his cell phone video went viral. >> reporter: tyner was not allowed to fly. the t.s.a. says he's in the
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minority. nationwide the agency says more than 99% of passengers agree to use the scanners. >> i'd rather be safe on the plane than worry about somebody who doesn't know me looking at a scan of something on a body scanner. so it doesn't bother me at all. >> reporter: our cameras watched this security checkpoint at laguardia airport in new york for 25 minutes. in that time, 25 people went through the scanners and only one refused, opting for the patdown instead. at this chicago o'hare checkpoint, 458 people were screened in an hour. 101 passed through the scanner and no one refused. still, some passengers are concerned about exposure to radiation. >> the f.d.a., i believe, says that it's safe. but i'm not sure of that and i don't want to find out 15 years from now that it wasn't safe. >> reporter: according to a johns hopkins study, the exposure from one scan is equal to two minutes on an airplane. >> so typical flight you're going through hundreds or thousands more times exposure than you would for a simple scan.
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>> reporter: most of the backlash is directed at t.s.a. and its employees. some airports are looking at replacing them with private firms, but those firms still must abide by t.s.a. rules. >> the bottom line is trying to ensure that everybody that gets on every flight can be assured with high confidence that everybody else on that flight has been properly screened. >> reporter: and the t.s.a. is confident that these scanners work. they say that they've found 130 dangerous or illegal items in the past year. katie? >> couric: kelly, stand by for a moment, because people who posted comments on our facebook page seem to be pretty split down the middle on this issue. >> couric: that, of course, is the amendment that protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. so, kelly, how many complaints about pat-downs have actually been filed against the t.s.a.?
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>> reporter: well, the american civil liberties union says that they've logged about 640 complaints this month. compare that to less than 40 for all of september and october. but still, keep in mind, 38 million passengers went through airport screening in the month of november. >> couric: all right. kelly cobiella at miami international airport. kelly, thank you. with so much controversy over screenings here in the united states, you might be wondering how other countries handle their security. so we asked elizabeth palmer to be our guide. >> reporter: passengers who set off the metal detectors in most european airports get a thorough pat-down. and very few complain-- including the 12 million americans who traveled to europe last year. maybe because the body checks are less intrusive than the ones recently introduced in the u.s. >> looking at the inner thighs, the buttocks and so on.
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that is simply not something we would do, or ever countenance here over this side of the atlantic. >> reporter: in israel, where the risk of bombs on planes has been high for decades, security relies much less on probing hands or scanners than probing questions. highly trained staff interrogate every passenger, looking for any that fit the profile of a suspect. but experts say that will only work on a small scale. >> they can do that there, but try transposing that to somewhere like an atlanta, a new york j.f.k., or indeed a chicago. it's never going to happen. >> reporter: in europe, full- body scanners are accepted as a better solution. and while old machines may have revealed too much for some passengers, a new model being used in holland and due for a trial run in boston reduces the image to a stick figure but still shows up hidden dangers. it's a costly business to
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provide enough technology and staff to keep passengers safe while protecting their dignity. european airports now spend 35% of their budgets on security, and even then they can't offer a perfect system, just one that's good enough. elizabeth palmer, cbs news, london. >> couric: in health news, they've been around for 50 years, but today some of the most popular painkillers were pulled from the market. ten million americans took darvon, darvocet and their generic versions last year, now the f.d.a. says they're simply too dangerous. dr. jon lapook is our medical correspondent. jon, what are the safety concerns with these painkillers? >> reporter: katie, after years of controversy, the f.d.a. has concluded that the risks simply outweigh the benefits. and what tipped the scale here is a study that they requested that turned out showing it can cause an irregular heartbeat that can be fatal. >> couric: really? so they're very, very serious side effects. these drugs, as you mentioned, they've been controversial for years. so what took the f.d.a. so long
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to make this decision? >> reporter: that's what the watchdog groups want to know. this drug was banned in the u.k. five years ago because it causes suicides. it was banned in europe last year because of overdoses, and when i asked that question of the f.d.a. today, the response was they were waiting for the final piece of the puzzle, which was a study that was not completed until september showing these irregular heart beats that can be fatal. >> couric: so what do you do if you're taking these painkillers right now? if you have some in your medicine cabinet? >> reporter: what you should not do is stop cold turkey because that can have problems in and of itself. you need to talk to your doctor, and the good news is there are plenty of alternatives and once the drug is out of your system completely, it should be gone and shouldn't cause long-term problems. >> couric: all right. dr. jon lapook. jon, thanks so much. in other news, just days after returning from his asian trip, president obama flew to portugal today for a nato summit. this time the president was able to announce two agreements. the allies say they will support his plans for a new missile defense system for europe. nato is also backing the nuclear missile reduction treaty with
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russia. the president is still pressing the senate to ratify it. but afghanistan dominated today's discussions. the u.s.-led coalition is said to be making military progress, and national security correspondent david martin tells us they'll soon have some new firepower to add to their arsenal. >> reporter: the american troop surge is about to pack a bigger wallop. early next year, marines in southern afghanistan will have a company of tanks with which to pursue the taliban. it's only 15 tanks, but retired general jack keane, a confidant of general david petraeus, thinks it's just the beginning. >> it may be the lead company of more tanks to follow. >> reporter: the first use of tanks in afghanistan is part of what an aide to petraeus calls squeezing down on the taliban like a giant anaconda. >> we've never been able to do that before and that's making a difference and it's beginning to erode the morale of the taliban. it's starting to break their will. >> reporter: the pace of american operations keeps going up from week to week.
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night raids up six-fold. air strikes nearly double. but it comes with a built-in drawback. >> this marked increase in night raids and operations has been very visible to the afghan people, and they have been vocally complaining to their government. >> reporter: civilian casualties are down 8%, but still 429 innocent afghans have been killed or wounded this year. the question is: do the numbers add up to a strategy that will allow the u.s. and its allies to meet the goal they are about to set at the nato summit in lisbon? >> a transition to afghan responsibility that begins in 2011 with afghan forces taking the lead for security across afghanistan by 2014. >> reporter: perhaps the biggest obstacle is next door in pakistan, where the government has shown no willingness to go after key terrorist safe havens. >> either the pakistanis pull the plug and stop supporting them or we take them down. if those are still there, then i don't see how we can make 2014. >> reporter: the surge may be
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working, but it's too soon to say that about the strategy. katie? >> couric: all right. david martin at the pentagon. thank you so much, david. the afghan war began, of course, after the 9/11 attacks. today more than 10,000 people who were exposed to toxic dust as they worked in the ruins of the world trade center ended their legal battle with new york city. most have agreed to be part of a settlement worth at least $625 million. more than 95% of those eligible took the offer rather than sue. and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news" it was one of the biggest t.v. mysteries of all time. did you guess who pulled the trigger? but up next, a jury blames his death on an allegedly defective seat belt. an exclusive cbs news investigation finds there may be millions more like it still on the road.
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minor league baseball player headed for the big leagues. greg was his brother. >> brian was actually on the 40- man roster for the new york mets organization. >> reporter: he says while driving home from spring training in florida, brian was forced to steer his 2001 ford explorer off the road to avoid another car. it flipped three times. brian was thrown from it and killed. everyone assumed he hadn't buckled up. that surprised greg, who thought brian always wore his seat belt. then he made a startling discovery. >> the one thing we noticed when we opened the truck was the seat belt was still latched. that kind of raised suspicions in our mind. >> reporter: brian's family claims he was wearing his seat belt, but it was defective and became so loose it failed to hold him in. that's because the belt was designed to lock into a firm grip when there's sudden movement, like during a collision. but the same belt could fail and go slack during the unpredictable forces of a rollover. brian's family sued ford.
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engineers used these illustrations to show that brian's belt came loose on the first roll. he was thrown 78 feet and never had a chance. but the most damaging evidence was found in ford's own internal documents. five years before the accident, ford's own seat belt manufacturer, t.r.w., warned ford that conventional seat belts can release during rollovers. t.r.w. told ford they already offered a better design, a belt that remains locked with belt tension regardless of motion. yet it took ford five years to begin using the improved belts in some s.u.v.s. brian was already dead. >> you think you... you put the seat belt on, you think you've done every safety precaution you can to protect yourself, and then to know that there was another option that could have possibly prevented my brother from losing his life, you know, that's very frustrating. >> reporter: the big question is, how many seat belts like brian's are still out there? they're in an estimated three million older s.u.v.s still on the road.
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and they're in an unknown number of newer vehicles. but there's no easy way for consumers to tell, and federal officials don't require rollover-safe designs. ford officials wouldn't agree to an interview, but say it's unfair to blame ford for brian cole's death. they still insist he simply wasn't wearing his safety belt. the jurors decided otherwise after seeing this coroner's photo. it appears to show the severe bruising where brian's shoulder belt grabbed him before going slack and letting him go. in september the jury returned an astonishing $131 million verdict against ford. >> once they heard the information, once they saw the evidence, there was no doubt in their minds that he had a seat belt on and he had done all he could do. >> reporter: brian's family says his reputation was tarnished by the assumption he hadn't buckled up. they can't bring him back but feel they did clear his name. sharyl attkisson, cbs news, washington. >> couric: and coming up next, the story of a hero dog from
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soldiers they saved. rufus now lives in georgia, target went to arizona with sergeant terry young. last week, she escaped from his yard and was caught by a dog catcher. on monday, a worker at the pound mistakenly euthanized target. today that employee was fired. sergeant young and his three children are understandably heartbroken. in tempe, arizona, a story with a much happier ending. dave tally, a homeless recovering drug addict found a backpack at a train station earlier this month. it contained a laptop and $3,300 in cash, but no i.d. tally could easily have taken it. but instead, he used the computer to track down the owner, a student at arizona state. not only did the grateful student give tally a cash reward, he now plans to volunteer at a homeless shelter. and coming up next, it was a smoking gun, but who pulled the trigger? the mystery that kept millions glued to their t.v.s.
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>> who's there? >> couric: they were the shots heard round the world. two .38-caliber slugs to the gut that took "dallas" from a prime time guilty pleasure to a pop culture phenomenon. >> ♪ what everybody wants to know is who shot j.r. ewing ♪ >> couric: the whole "who shot j.r." concept was kind of a happy accident, right? >> oh, absolutely, yeah. we had done, i think, 22 shows and cbs was making so much money they wanted to extend it for four, and our producer said "well, let's just shoot the s.o.b. and figure it out later." >> couric: while the nation waited out gas lines, a hostage crisis... >> the prime minister said the united states has not understood the problem. >> couric: ...and a presidential campaign. >> i came to dallas to find out confidentially who shot j.r. >> couric: "dallas" fans waited and debated over which of the plausible suspects had pulled the trigger. from any number of bamboozled oil barons...
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>> i'll get you for this if it's the last thing i do. >> couric: j.r.'s neglected, long-suffering wife sue-ellen. >> tell me j.r. which slut are you going to stay with tonight? >> whoever it is it's got to be more interesting than the slut i'm looking at right now. >> couric: to keep even the cast and crew guessing, all of them were filmed taking a couple of shots at old j.r. >> take that you son of a (bleep). >> couric: but larry hagman had the last laugh. everyone from miss ellie to the makeup artists actually had a shot at shooting you. >> that's true. i asked everybody to shoot me until the end, when i pick up a bottle of gin and i say "missed," and i'd rigged it up so water kept squirting out of it. >> couric: meanwhile, the "who shot j.r." frenzy was front-page news, gracing the covers of magazines from "tv guide" to "time." at this point, what was bigger, your ego or your paycheck? >> it was about half and half. ( laughs ). >> couric: but both were about
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to get bigger. seeing an opportunity to renegotiate his contract, hagman left los angeles for london, threatening not to return. and you made sure that you were photographed a lot in london, right? >> oh, yeah, sure, i went to all the places like ascot, i went to five days at ascot. oh, god, boring. and it was presented to the queen mother and she says "i don't suppose you could tell me who shot j.r.?" i said "no, ma'am, not even you." >> couric: the queen mother would find out along with the rest of the world on the fateful friday night. november 21, 1980. >> get me the police. >> couric: when it was revealed that j.r.'s mistress, kristin, played by mary crosby, was his would-be assassin. >> it was you, kristin! >> being the one who shot j.r. made me a trivia question and i'm really big in really small countries. >> couric: speaking of trivia, "whodunit" was, at the time, the most watched t.v. episode ever with a whopping 76 share and an
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estimated audience of 350 million people worldwide. when you heard the numbers, what did you think? >> money. >> couric: ( laughs ) oh, my god! >> sorry! ( laughs ). >> couric: in fact, hagman would eventually go on to earn a reported $250,000 per episode and play j.r. ewing for 11 more years. did you ever get tired of j.r.? >> never. never. it was always a challenge. always fun. and being at work that long was fun. how many actors get a chance to do that? >> couric: and it looks like there could be more fun in store for hagman. a new version of "dallas" is coming to cable, and he says he's ready to play j.r. again if the money's right. once a ewing, always a ewing. that's the "cbs evening news." i'll have more of larry hagman's memories this weekend on "sunday morning." until then, i'm katie couric, thank you for watching. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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captioned by media access group at wgbh california, struggling to this is something that arose out of someone living almost in a cult-like situation. >> cash-strapped california struggling to monitor potentially dangerous parolees. the bizarre case that sparked outrage in marin county. >> that latest effort to fighted crime in oakland, lessons in elementary school. >> and a big new problem for high-speed rail on the peninsula. an obstacle that predates the civil war. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm dana king. a convicted child abuser about to be released from prison will now have to be supervised when he is released on parole next week. it's an about-face by the state parole board. simon perez on the debate over who gets supervised at a time when money to do that is hard to